Disclaimer #1: These characters are mine, mine I say. No, I'm not possessive, I'm just… dammit, fine. I'm possessive and have issues with sharin', but I'm getting' help- honest. If the two gals in this lil story remind you of a certain bard and warrior who belong to a certain MCA/Renaissance Pictures, well than you must be smokin' something. Do not operate heavy machinery.
Disclaimer #2: This story has content regardin' a relationship between two happenin' ladies. This bothers you, you say? I'm not old enough to read this you say? Then kin'ly go no further, friend.
Disclaimer #3: OK- I really, really, really don't want to give anything away, but something tragic happens. If you don't want to be a part of that, then read no further. Otherwise, you've been warned.
Side note: The bartender's name its Amanda. Some bad edittin' on my part, 's all. A billion 'n 5 pardons fer the confusion.
Without further ado, kin'ly feed the bard. She likes Pez, white toast, and any words about her work. Thanks 'n I hope you enjoy, folks.
The next time I saw her, was, strangely enough, during the day. I was leaving my building to go to the store. A 'friend' of mine was throwin' a party later on in the week, and I'd somehow been talked into attendin'. She was heading down the stairs of her building, and I was even with her. She looked over just as I noticed her, and I'l be damned if our eyes didn't find each other. Those eyes of hers… I could feel them diving into mine as I was drowning inside of hers. We walked towards each other once we got to the sidewalk, her smiling wildly and me half-grinning.
"I can't figure out how we've never run into each other before we met at the bar," she said when we came close enough to each other to talk. I tried not to let on that I thought it was funny, her saying "met". I mean, she didn't even know my name, after all. Before I really realized what was going on, I blurted out, "My name's Kris."
"Oh..," she said. It was right about then that I realized she'd been talking, and that I'd 'introduced' myself right in the middle of one of her sentences. I looked at the ground trying to figure out a way to apologize, but before I had a chance to say anything else she put her hand on my arm, making me meet her eyes again. "It's nice to meet you, Kris."
I saw so much in her eyes at that moment that I don't think I'll ever be able to do it justice. There was hope there, and understanding, even some respect. But there was something else there that I couldn't put my finger on at the time and have had a hard time snatching even now. Sometimes, when I lie awake at night in those moments before I fall asleep, I see her eyes as they were in that instant, and I wonder if what I saw was something I'd never seen in anyone else's eyes before that moment or since.
I wonder if what I saw was love.
I took all that in before she blinked. Then I walked with her for a ways, her talking, me listening. Seemed like our show was going on the road. Turns out she was going to visit her folks later on in the day, and was getting some shopping done before she headed out. She asked where I was headed, and I told her that I needed to pick some things up for a friend of mine. She asked if I wanted to go with her. I couldn't find any way out of it that wasn't rude, even for me, so I agreed to it.
The store, the R & K, was just a couple blocks from our buildings, so we walked. It was getting colder out every day that went by, autumn givin' way fast to winter. It still wasn't cold enough for snow, though- whatever fell melted as soon as it hit the sidewalks, makin' 'em turn a dark greyish-brown and puttin' patches of water in any potholes in the street. Before I'd left my apartment, some of this wannabe-snow'd tried fallin', so everything shimmered with an oily wetness around us as we walked. It was just cold enough for our breath to show in little fading clouds in front of us as we walked quietly down the street, cars driving by with faint whooshes as they hit slick spots in the street.
We walked into the R & K, one of those little bells restin' against the door announcin' our arrival with a dull metal cha-dink. The place wasn't that big, but big enough to have a few aisles. It wasn't big enough to be a supermarket, but it also wasn't small enough to be a convenience store- it was one of those in-between places you can't really fit anywhere. There are a lot of places like that around here.
She grabbed a basket and I followed her as she went down one of the aisles, picking up a box of rice. We went to the back of the store where they have what passes for produce, and she started looking at some green peppers, picking one up carefully and gently pressing across it.
"Planning on stir fry?" I asked, kind of surprised that I'd broken the silence.
"Yeah," she replied. Deciding on two of the peppers, one red and one green, and picking out some pea pods, she looked up at me with a little smile. "All I need now's some chicken, and I'll be all set."
"How about I go pick out what I need, and I'll meet you at the check-out," I said.
"Deal." We went to opposite sides of the store.
Next time I saw her, she was placing her food on the counter. She turned to look at me, her eyes getting caught on the three bottles of alcohol in my arms.
"Huh?" I looked at her, confused, until I got it. "Sorry- a friend of mine's havin' a party. Asked me to pick this up for 'im."
"You should've said that's what you were going to get- I could've told you where we get ours. It's a lot cheaper."
I almost sighed out loud right then 'n there. I was sure she'd have me pegged for the biggest drunk in the world, goin' to the bar every other night and then buyin' more of the same durin' the day. I was so relieved, in fact, I forgot to pay attention as we were walking out of the store, not realizin' we were headed back to our buildings 'til we'd been walkin' for nearly a block.
"You like stir fry?"
"I love it- it's one of the few things I don't mess up. I'm an awful cook," I said. It was the truth- I'd had Charlie Brown syndrome for the longest time. All I could make was cold cereal and toast, and I wasn't even consistent at those. I'd picked up stir fryin' recently, but I was still a bit iffy with it.
"What are you doing tomorrow night," she asked when we got in front of our buildings.
"Um… well, nothing, exactly…" I swear, the only time in my life I ever came close to stutterin' was when I was in front of her.
"Great- how about you come over and I can try out this new recipe on you," she said with that smile of hers. Made it feel like the middle of July, that smile.
"Sure. What time?"
"How about 7- I should be home from my parent's place by then."
"You got it. I might need to know where you live, though."
"8th floor, number 3."
She left me with a smile that I could see until she disappeared inside of her building, leaving me standing on my steps, bags in my hands, fumblin' with my keys.
Continued in Part 3…